The Council of Trent

Council of TrentBetween 1545 and 1563, the Catholic Church held the Council of Trent to consider the questions that had been raised by the Protestant reformers. It was during these sessions that papal Rome hammered out her permanent fundamental creed.

A Deeply Divided Church

On one side, the reformers charged that the Catholic Church had apostatized from the truth as contained in the written word. Their motto was “the Bible and the Bible only.” The other side insisted that the Bible and tradition—the Bible as interpreted by the holy fathers of previous generations—were the basis of truth.

There was a strong party within the council that was in favor of abandoning tradition and adopting the scriptures as the only standard of authority, so strong that the fate of Catholic tradition hung in the balance. The debate raged on and on over years, until the council was brought to a standstill. However, at that point the Protestant side of the argument was silenced with a decisive blow.

The Archbishop of Reggio’s Unanswerable Argument:

The Protestants claim to stand upon the written word only. They profess to hold the scripture alone as the standard of faith. They justify their revolt by the plea that the church has apostatized from the written word and follows tradition. However, the Protestants’ claim that they stand on the written word only is not true. Their profession of holding the scripture alone as the standard of faith is false!

The written word explicitly enjoins that observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. Yet they do not observe the seventh day, but reject it. If they do truly hold the scripture alone as their standard, they would be observing the seventh day as is enjoined in the scriptures throughout. Yet they not only reject the observance of the Sabbath enjoined in the written word, but they have adopted and do practice the observance of Sunday, for which they have only the tradition of the church.

Consequently the claim of scripture alone as the standard of truth fails, and the doctrine of scripture and tradition is fully established, the Protestants themselves being the judges!

A Fatal Blow

This observation by the Bishop of Reggio was a fatal blow to those in the council who wished to reform the church. The Protestants’ own statement of faith at the Augsburg Confession of 1530 condemned them. The council accepted the argument as pure inspiration and the party fighting for the Bible alone was forced to surrender. The council unanimously condemned the Protestant reformation as a groundless revolt against the communion and authority of the Catholic Church.

A Battle Lost Because of the Sabbath

This inconsistency in Protestant doctrine gave the Catholic Church the long desired ground she needed to condemn the entire Protestant reformation. And what was the issue that this critical battle was lost upon? The Protestants’ failure to keep the Bible’s holy seventh-day Sabbath!!